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How Instagrams Reels Algorithm Works

How Instagrams Reels Algorithm Works

Instagram explains how it ranks the content people see when searching through wheels. This insight can help you create more successful clips.

Instagram is pushing Reels as its next flagship feature. Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, has gone on record and said he wants big videos in an attempt to compete directly with TikTok.


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As Instagram continues to invest in Reels, it keeps users informed about how this section of the app works.

In an Instagram post, the company reveals how it chooses which wheels are recommended for each individual user.

If Instagram is part of your marketing strategy, knowing how the app recommends Reels to users is knowledge that can help you in the future.

Here are the main takeaways.

How Instagram recommends scrolls for users

The goal of Intagram’s Reels algorithm is to surface content that users will not only enjoy watching, they will likely engage in it as well.

To determine which wheels users should be shown, Instagram’s algorithm considers how likely an individual is to:


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See a roll all the way through Seems like it was entertaining or fun Go to the audio page to make their own wheel

The last point may sound confusing if you are not familiar with either Reels or TikTok. It refers to the ability to take an audio track from someone else’s video and create your own content with it.

Unless the creator has the feature disabled, each scroll has a page where viewers can grab the sound and make a new video with the same track.

Creating a scrolling clip that can be shared a lot can go a long way with the recommendation algorithm – but is it more important than likes and views?

Main wheel algorithm signals

Instagram says user activity is the most important signal when it comes to recommending wheels.

The algorithm considers which wheels a user has previously been in contact with and whether they have had direct interaction with the content creator.

This means that responses to comments, DMs and tags can help show your content more often in people’s feeds.

Then Instagram looks at information about the video itself and information about the content creator.


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The main signals for Reel’s recommendation algorithm are (in order of importance):

User Activity: Including recent engagement with Reels and interactions with content creators. Wheel information: Such as its popularity, its soundtrack and understanding of the video based on pixels and whole frames. Creator Information: Including who they are and how other users have interacted with them.

Types of Content Instagram will not recommend

There are several types of content that Instagram will not recommend, no matter how popular the creator is or how much engagement the video receives.

Instagram avoids recommending rolls for the following reasons:


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The video is low resolution and / or watermarked. The video contains political content. The video is made by political or government figures.

If you want to get anywhere with Instagram scrolls, aim to produce high quality original content. Watermarked videos that are recycled from other sites will not appear in people’s feeds unless they follow the creator directly.

Finally, keep the topic light and friendly for all audiences.

Source: @creators on Instagram


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